Game of the Year Aurion Legacy of the KoriOdan

first_img Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!I once thought about writing a “best dreadlocks in video games” feature before reaching the depressing conclusion that the list would probably feature more Predators than Black people. Fortunately, from Mafia III to Watch Dogs 2 to Battlefield 1 to Virginia, this year has seen an encouraging amount of Black representation in games. But that’s never a reason to stop asking for more.Specifically, I think fantasy games have a lot to gain by looking for inspiration beyond European (and to a lesser extent, Asian) influences, an idea I touched on in an earlier essay on video games and Afrofuturism. This week’s Game of the Year, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan, is proof of that potential.The story of Aurion’s creation is almost as cool and unusual as the game itself. The result of a successful Kickstarter, Aurion marks the debut of Kiro’o Games, a self-taught Cameroonian studio. This makes Aurion the first video game from Central Africa. As such, the game draws inspiration from across the mythology of the region. The music and Swahili words used throughout took me back to my brief stint of celebrating Kwanzaa. But even if you don’t recognize every specific cultural marker, it’s a coherent aesthetic not typically seen in games. And it’s brought to life with lovingly hand-drawn character sporting detailed animations.Meanwhile, the story’s focus royal intrigue and the gameplay’s focus on over-the-top brawls make Aurion either the best Black Panther game Marvel won’t make or African Dragon Ball Z. Players control Enzo, prince of Zama. When violent forces conspire to prevent him from becoming king, he quests throughout the land with his would-be queen to reclaim what’s theirs, as well as learn about the rest of the world.Aurion is an action-RPG, which gives the game a reason to have players explore in-between the fighting. You can talk to local storytellers, villagers, or bested enemies while gathering items and finding the path forward. It goes a long way toward getting players invested in the world, which seems to be the developer’s chief priority. After all, as the first game from a certain part of the world, there’s a lot of pressure to deliver something that could only come to that place.But don’t think Aurion is nothing but African sightseeing. You’ll frequently battle all types of foes: short grubby rat-men, traitorous guards, or bosses able to summon magical animal auras. Fortunately, the combat is an absolute joy. With his fierce strikes, acrobatic leaps, and ability to cast screen-filling magic attacks, Enzo plays like a character from Marvel vs. Capcom. You can even take enemies for a ride by knocking them further and further into the sky. It never gets old, and you steadily become stronger as you level up. Just make sure to play with a controller.All that said, Aurion overall is rough in a way you might expect from a very indie video game. Nothing is explicitly broken, but the experience is missing that oh-so intangible quality known as “polish.” You can notice which elements may have received more attention than others. When you’re a small, new team making your first game in a region without a larger dev community for guidance, it’s understandable not everything can be a priority. But I can’t blame players for not being as forgiving.They should consider it though because for $15 on PC, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan is absolutely worth checking out. And if people don’t care about the initial, indie African video games of today, we may never get to see the glorious, AAA(rtisanal?) African video games of the (afro)future. This Game of the Year could be a gateway to many more.Check back next week to read about the next Game of the Year! Stay on targetlast_img